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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 2, Episode 11

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM


How the ponies of antiquity founded Equestria, in spite of their own best efforts.

Season 2, Episode 11: "Hearth's Warming Eve"
The Mane Six Plus Spike are backstage at Canterlot tower, excited to have been chosen by Princess Celestia to star in Canterlot's annual Hearth's Warming Eve pageant. Well, they're all excited except Fluttershy, who's nothing but terrified of being on stage in front of thousands of ponies. Also backstage, but much happier to be seen by thousands of ponies, is Derpy, in this episode's get-it-out-of-the-way Derpywatch.
The pageant is about the importance of harmony and friendship, both of which are in short supply backstage, especially since Rainbow Dash is too taken with her own awesomeness to fly up and shut the window, much to the others' annoyance.
The pageant opens, with Spike as the Chorus. (I'm calling him the chorus rather than the Narrator because that makes it feel like a Henry V reference, and I'm insufferably pretentious.) Spike has overcome his previous aversion to frou-frou clothing, so good on him for that. The events of the pageant take place an unspecificed amount of time before Celestia's ascent to power after defeating Discord, and even before the discovery and founding of Equestria -- meaning that Equestria is indeed a specific geopolitical entity rather than an all-encompassing term for the known world, like Middle Earth. These are kinds of things I wonder about, anyway. That they're actually on a planet called Earth -- and a round planet, at that -- will be established, quite hilariously, later in the episode.
The three kinds of ponies had already evolved by then: Unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies.
Then as now, Chorus Spike tells the audience, the pegasi controlled the weather, the unicorns controlled day and night, and the earth ponies grew the food, which the unicorns and pegasi helped themselves to.
The earth ponies resented the entitlement and lack of gratitude of the (literally) upper classes, nor were the pegasi and unicorns thrilled to have to deal with the laborers who produced their food. Up until this point, all of this is shown as a play, with flat sets and stagehands and thick eye-makeup for the benefit of the ponies in the cheap seats. But now the perspective changes, and we go into the story itself. (Again, because I'm insufferably pretentious, this episode reminds me of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburgers' The Red Shoes, probably the definitive "stage production morphs into reality" movie. I can't recommend it highly enough, particularly if you liked Black Swan -- and even more if you thought Black Swan was a bunch of twaddle.) The status quo just kept quoing along, until one day, when winter came in the form of a blizzard, which impacted the earth ponies, who were unable to grow food ...
... the weather-controlling Pegasi, who were unable to control this weather ...
... and everypony, even the magic-enabled unicorns, froze and starved.
The three tribes called a summit to try to figure out how to work together and survive the blizzard. Present and accounted for: Princess Platinum, daughter of the Unicorn King.
The pegasi's head honcho, Commander Hurricane.
And the earth ponies' big cheese, Chancellor Puddinghead.
But could they overcome their mutual, ages-old distrust and find a way to work together?
Nope! The earth ponies accused the pegasi of starting the blizzard, the pegasi blamed the unicorns, the unicorns blamed the pegasi, and the earth ponies decided to hold them both responsible.
And the storm, perpetuated by spooky, glowing horses, grew worse.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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